Thursday, February 17, 2011

More About Registries

I feel like that last post maybe gave off a bit of an unintentionally negative vibe. I want to clarify- I'm not LOOKING for ways to decrease the amount of money I spend on somebody's wedding gift. Maybe it sounded that way because those are the factors I have to think about now: I'm going to several weddings or wedding-related events in a short period of time, I'll be traveling, I'm a student, and to one of the weddings I'm invited with a plus-one, but to another I'm invited alone. So I've had a lot of this on my mind lately.

One thing I MEANT to discuss before I went off on that algorithm of why I spend what I do on wedding gifts was a more detailed discussion of registries themselves. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I like registries and thing they are helpful and I tend to buy off the registry.

- If you don't buy off the registry, why not? Is it because you feel creatively stifled or that registries seem insistent? Do you ever worry that you might buy the couple something they don't want or like?

- What sorts of things do you tend to buy? I prefer to buy a gift that is whole by itself. As in, I dislike buying place settings or flatware and would prefer to buy a salad bowl and tongs or something like that. If possible, I also prefer to buy something that I would be pleased to give the couple regardless of it being on the registry. Like a friend of mine registered for some fancy beer glasses so I bought those for her (from both me and my plus-one). Another friend registered for a neat picnic basket set (!!!) and I was pretty excited about that so I ordered it for her.

- If you are married or have been married, what kinds of things did you want to receive for your wedding? What kinds of things turned out to be GREAT in the years to come and what kinds of things could you have done without? (If you aren't married and want to imaginarily answer this question, please go ahead). I'm curious, you see. Because I've seen a lot of registries with the kind of thing I'm not sure I would use. Fancy coasters, a breadmaker, crystal goblets.... Also, I'm the kind of person who likes going to the flea market and picking up odds and ends and I FEEL like (someday, if and when I ever do get married) I wouldn't register for, say, serving trays since I already have some really cool ones from the 70s. And what about fancy china? It seems like everybody registers for Nice Dishes but do they actually use them? I know my sister has a set that she keeps in a china hutch. I feel like if I'm shopping for a set of dishes to keep in a china hutch then maybe I just want to, like, inherit my grandmother's old china.

Okay I'd better scoot if I'm going to get to clinical on time. Please share if you are so inclined!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weddings & Whatnot

No, I'm not getting married. Trust me, you'll be THE FIRST TO KNOW. Well, maybe not the first, but you'll be up there with the Important People. Pinky swear.

Anyhow, I'm wondering how citizens of the world at large generally and you people specifically feel about wedding registries.
If I'm going to a wedding, I usually tend to buy the couple a gift off their registry. My logic behind this is as follows: It is traditional to give the newlyweds a gift. This item is something I know they want and will therefore like.
But I've had a few conversations with people who adamantly proclaim their distaste for registries. Usually it is because the person feels too hemmed in by a registry and wants to be more creative for his or her gift ("It's just so impersonal!"), or it is because they feel like the act of having a registry conveys greed ("It's like they are saying you HAVE to buy them a present."). Or both.... KC got his sister the Shake Weight for her wedding. And, on the way to a friend's wedding, he pulled over at a Rite Aid and bought a hideous 2 foot tall knick knack figurine THING. He presented it to the couple and told them it was a fertility statue. He now takes credit for the fact that they have a kid. Think what you will of that but he comes from a family that regularly buys each other horrible gifts-- so they can take them out into the desert and SHOOT THEM.

Uh. Anyhow. I don't generally tend to feel like the act of having a registry is the same as INSISTING that the guests bring gifts. I do think it is tacky (and leaning toward more insistent) when registry information is included with the invitation or save-the-date card, but most people don't do that.
And I don't feel creatively stifled by the registry, either. I think of it as a helpful guide. Like, "Just in case you might be interested in giving us a gift here is a list of things we like."
When my sister got married I made her a video of all the wedding preparations (trying on the dress, seeing which veil she liked best, wrapping the favors, unwrapping the presents) and her wedding (ceremony, speeches, dancing, cake) all edited to music. That was her gift-- it didn't cost much MONEY but it did take a helluva lot of time to make. She loved it. But it's not like I'm going to do something that creative and time-consuming for everybody who invites me to their wedding. I do make soap, so sometimes I'll include some as a little sub-gift. That's the maximum wedding-gift-creativity that I have to give.

So, in general, I'm on board with registries. I particularly like registries that have a nice range of stuff. Like, not EVERYTHING is in the $100 and up category, but there are plenty of things to buy that are in the $25 range without looking like the asshole who bought one spoon. Usually I tend to spend $30-$75 on a wedding gift. That's kind of a wide range, I know, but it just really depends on a variety of factors. This is the very unscientific algorithm I use to decide how much to spend:

How close are we?
If we are closer friends or relatives then I am probably likely to spend a bit more on your gift. Same goes if I know BOTH the bride and groom.
If I am coming as somebody's plus-one then I usually let that person handle the gifting decisions (see also: Shake Weight).

What is my current income?
When I was working full-time I was more likely to err on the spendier side. Now that I'm a full-time student again I tend to spend a bit less on wedding gifts since I know I'll be paying it back with interest to Sallie Mae.

How far away is your wedding?
Whether it should be like this or not I tend to spend a bit less on the gift if getting to the wedding is going to be a large inconvenience or expense. If I have to pay for airfare, a car rental, and a hotel room, then the wedding gift can't be as pricey. Or I might just opt for a gift card since carrying a gift might get tricky with airport security workers and their sticky fingers.
I recognize that the couple is spending money on the wedding and having my tush in a seat costs them some cash. But I DON'T like the idea of some kind of equalish trade-off. Like, they're spending this amount of money to have me at the wedding so I need to spend that amount on a gift. I think that's the kind of thinking that leads people to say 'well I'm TRAVELING for the wedding, so my gift to them is my presence' and for many feelings to get hurt.
I don't have a money tree so I can't afford as fancy of a giftie if I'm voyaging a long way for a wedding and that's just how it is.

Am I bringing a guest?
Oh goodness. Don't get me started on THIS particular subject. I accept that I may feel differently about this and if and when I ever do get married I reserve the right to change my mind. I also accept that MANY people feel differently about this and I do understand that there are lots of good reasons for this. My dear friends, if that is the case for you, we are just going to have to agree to disagree. BUT I feel, in general, that a person in their mid-twenties or older should be expected/allowed to bring a date to a wedding. That should be the default. Person in their mid-twenties coming to your wedding? Include a plus-one.
Because, I'm sorry, but weddings are just not THAT fun. Especially if you HAVE a significant other but he or she is not allowed to attend the wedding with you.
I know that weddings are expensive. I know that it is hard to decide which people to invite or not invite and that everybody has their own priorities of which expenses are the most important ones and etc, etc, whatever. But going to a wedding by yourself can kinda... suck.
AND I hate the idea that someone else has assigned some sort of value or validity to a relationship based on months/years together. Like "Oh we'll invite Todd and Angela because they've been together for a year, but not Brian's girlfriend Lisa because they've only been dating for 6 months." What if Todd and Angela are about to break up and Brian and Lisa are about to get engaged? Who are YOU to say which relationship is more "valid" than the other?
I think my feelings on this stem from the fact that I'm unmarried so there's never the GUARANTEE that I'll get to bring a date to a wedding. And that can get frustrating and awkward. (I'm not trying to offend anyone-- again, these are just my opinions.)
Related? I'm also getting tired of being one of the last single ladies pretending to be excited about catching the bouquet. Oh yes, woohoo I caught it, I'm next. I'M THE ONLY ONE LEFT.
Bitter? Me? Whyever do you ask?
Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, if I'm bringing a guest I will spend more on a present since it is kind of from the both of us.

How much is shipping?
If I'm buying the gift online and need it shipped either to me or directly to the newlyweds then I need to take the shipping cost into account. Like, if I want to spend $50 on a gift and I find out the shipping is $12, I'm probably going to spend less on the actual gift or I might just opt for sending a gift card. Of course, if I'm buying the gift in person then this point is moo. 

Am I going to multiple weddings or wedding-related events in a small period of time?
If I'm going to three weddings in July then my money will be stretched a bit thin and everybody will likely get a proportionally less expensive gift. Same goes if I'm going to several wedding-related events for the same person all within a short time period. I'm going to a shower, bachelorette party, AND wedding all within a month or two of each other? Sorry, those gifties get downsized. On the other hand, if your wedding stands alone in the dead of winter? Hooray for you; I'll be wearing a raincoat and bringing a fancy gift.

What does my mom think?
My mom knows her etiquette, you guys. She's got it DOWN. So if I ever have a Big Dilemma I'll ask her and go with what she says.

There's no, like, mathematical value I attach to these variables, they are just the factors I tend to take into account when purchasing wedding gifties. These are MY opinions and methods for deciding what to spend on wedding presents. I don't claim to be an expert or The Tsar of Present-Giving but this is what works for me now. I'm curious to know YOUR gift-buying opinions/methods, if you are inclined to share.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Letter to My Heart

This is what happens when Jenny writes a letter to your heart.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Love love love,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

All up in your business

Hi, so, um. I wrote something. And it's on BlogHer today. Click here to see.
(It's a syndicated post so you might've already read it. (But it would be awesome if you'd clickitty click over and check it out)).
Happy weekend!



Friday, February 11, 2011

to market, to market

I went to the flea market again last weekend. You are shocked, I know.
It was a gorgeous day, hot and sunny. I had been a teensy bit worried about going because, aack, what if they didn't have it on Super Bowl Sunday? Alas, I should have been worried about the opposite thing-- the flea market was HOPPING. There were tons of people there and parking was a huge pain. We ended up parking down a far-offish side street and congratulating ourselves for our smartness. No waiting in the huge parking line for us! No siree! We were less enthused when it came time to walk BACK to the car, loaded down with treasures. I'm totally buying one of those foldable rolly cart thingies every flea marketer seems to have.

Anyhow, I found some good stuff. This little guy was two dollars. Even though I'm partial to unicorns, a pegasus will do now and again.

And, weirdly, everything else I bought was three dollars.

This little succulent plant medly?
Three dollars.

The hat I bought because I hadn't anticipated the summery weather and my pale skin MUST STAY PALE?
Three dollars.

The 4 foot tall shelf I got for my sister for displaying ceramic art projects made by her kids?
Three dollars.

This cute shelfy thing with a random door I bought to display my knicky knackies?
Three dollars. I was most excited about this because it's the perfect shelf for storing, well, more junk I pick up at the flea market.
Oh darn! I couldn't find the right sizes of objects to fill the compartments around my house! Guess I'll just have to go back again....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Current Irritants.

Incorrect apostrophe usage. The other day I saw "Beverage's" on a menu. Some people just aren't even trying.

Automatic toilets. Can't I be the one to decide when I'd like to flush? I feel like I'm grown up enough for that responsibility.

Weak handshakes. Get your limp fish-hand away from me.

People talking about how Valentine's Day is "a made-up holiday." They are ALL made-up holidays. All holidays exist because at some point somebody said "You know what? We should make this a holiday." There are no holidays that just *poof* CAME INTO BEING.

My flat iron. It just stopped working out of the blue. And apparently the whole "I know how to do my hair" thing was just a charade. MY FLAT IRON knew how to do my hair. Without it I am useless. And frizzed.

Saturday classes. I don't have them every Saturday, but ENOUGH Saturdays to matter.


How tired I am after clinical. I seriously don't know how my dad regularly works 12 hour days. I get home and I can barely summon the energy to fling my clothes in the general direction of the hamper before I burrow into bed and don't emerge for many hours.

Sleeping, and the fact that I'm having trouble with it. I LOVE sleeping; why can't I just DO IT?

My car window. Someone broke it and then stole all my CDs, about five bucks in change, and my flip flops. I got it fixed but now it's a different color from the rest of my windows.

The new stupid parking meters around town and all their newfangled technology meant to keep you from adding time to a meter with some time left on it.

That speeding ticket I got awhile back. YES, I'm still annoyed about it!

The phrase "it is what it is." Oh, IS IT?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

77. visit a brewery

A couple weeks ago I was able to tackle number 77 on my life list. We visited the Anchor Brewing Company, conveniently located within San Francisco.
They give free tours twice a day, Monday through Friday. We reserved ours a couple months in advance which I guess is what you're supposed to do (I wasn't in charge, all I did was show up at the appropriate time. Actually, I was almost LATE because the bus didn't come on time so I took a cab and my cab driver had to pull over and look at a map). The tour included a walk through the brewery, wherein our guide explained the process of making the different varieties of Anchor beers.

We got to see this guy doing... something.

And we saw these guys. Doing... something else.

We saw this bottle washer contraptiony thingamajig.
I remember our tour guide gave us nice, comprehensive explanations of what was going on and what we were seeing. The trouble is that after the tour was the beer tasting and after the tasting was the stumbling home and falling on the bed for two hours, so my memories from the tour are a bit fuzzy. 

Aha! Proof I was there!

I guess that makes me a weakling since I flutter my hands and make ick faces at any beer that is TOO STRONG (which is most beer).
I'd say a good time was had by all. Several of us managed to tipsily slap down our credit cards and purchase some Anchor merchandise. I ended up with the Humming Ale shirt.
I can totally wear that to class today, right?

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last time I was at my parents' house my mom said she had a project for me. Turns out she wanted me to sort through her mother's old costume jewelry and OMG I don't think I could have IMAGINED a more fun project.

I believe I may have previously mentioned my fondness of handling small, trinketty objects?

Anyhow, I picked out a few items to keep and then sorted the rest into my grandmother's largest jewelry box. My mom said she was planning to keep the box in her closet and bring it out for my nieces to play with occasionally.

I remember when I was little that my mom had these two little Japanese dolls that I only got to play with when I was sick in bed. The dolls had white ceramic faces with bright red lips and dark eyes. They had fancy hairpieces and kimonos and sandals and they came in a special tissue-lined box. I have very fond memories of playing with them; they were good toys for a little girl who wasn't feeling well. I was careful and gentle with the dolls as I dressed them in their outfits and traded their hairpieces and walked them over the bedclothes. And once I was feeling better I was ready to run around and I didn't want to sit and play carefully.

So, back to the jewelry box. I filled it with my grandmother's extensive collection of clip-on earrings, her flashy rings, and other fancy baubles. My mom says she'll bring it out when she is babysitting one of my nieces who isn't feeling well or wants to play quietly.
I HIGHLY enjoyed playing with organizing the jewelry box, so I think it is the perfect toy for a little girl who wants to sit still for awhile.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I don't know, either.

Stairway to, um, nowhere?

Oh ho ho, he's cle-ver.
Yeah, that's all I've got for you today. I'm maxed out this week. If you know what I mean.